Student assessment is a way of life in today’s educational context. High-stakes testing tied to school evaluations, teacher pay scales, and sometimes even contracts makes it a high-pressure situation.
Sometimes assessment gets a bad reputation, but as teachers, we know that assessment is a tool to help us understand what students know at a given time. It provides a picture of what we taught well, what students grasped, what needs another visit, or what students bring to the table. It is a tool–nothing more.
One thing that Google has created is a way to assess and grade students in multiple-choice or matching environments: Google Forms. There are many ways to use Google Forms. This is just one, but it’s one that I want to highlight because it saves teachers some time, and that’s always something of which we could use more.
The first step to creating a Google Form Quiz is to open your web browser and select the App Launcher in the top-right-hand corner. Your App Launcher menu may look a bit different than mine does, but unless you see the Forms icon right away, you can continue with the same steps.
Click the “More” option, and then select “Even More from Google”. This link will take you to the Google Products page. Because Google has so much to offer, it can be a bit overwhelming. I like to use the “find” tool to select apps rather than trying to scroll through and see the icon. (My eyes aren’t that strong.) To do this, simply press the Ctrl key and then the F key at the same time. A find box will appear on your screen. Then you can type in “forms”, and your computer will automatically highlight the word for you, saving your eyes and your brain the trouble of manually searching.
Once you have opened Forms, you will see that welcome page. Select “Blank Quiz” to get started.
The process of creating the quiz questions is rather straightforward. Type your question where it says, “Untitled Question” and create your answer choices. Google can only grade multiple choice, dropdown, checkboxes, or linear scale question types, so keep that in mind if you are looking for Google to handle your grading. You can also move the “Required” switch to the right, so that you can force students to answer all the questions and prevent them from accidentally skipping one.
Once your answer choices are complete, select “Answer Key” to tell Google which answer is correct. Do this by clicking on the answer. A green check will appear when the correct answer is selected. You can select multiple answers to be right, so that students are in an all-or-nothing scenario. One of the most important things to do at this point is to be sure that you are assigning points to the question. If you don’t assign points, then the question will not contribute to the grade.
I strongly recommend that you make “Name” and “Class Period” your first two questions. (These are examples of where you may not want to assign points for questions.)
You can split the quiz into sections, or you can leave it all together. There are literally an endless number of possibilities for what you can do. When you are ready to assign your quiz to students, click the “Send” button in the top right hand corner. You can email it directly to students or post the link via a class webpage or through Classroom.
Once you have assigned your quiz and you have responses, there are two ways to view them. By clicking the “Responses” tab at the top of the page, you can see how Google breaks down the data. There are individual responses as well as some overview data.
Google will also put the information into a spreadsheet for you so that you can sort by student name (so it’s easier to record scores in the gradebook). Click the Green box in the top-right-hand corner, and Google will create a Spreadsheet for you. I recommend creating a new spreadsheet for each quiz you have, rather than adding to an existing one.
The spreadsheet looks like this.
Score columns are there and will show what you had. If you don’t want to have a total of 100 points, you can have the spreadsheet calculate a percent for you easily. Even though the column will have the points total included, there is no text that the computer reads there. Simply right-click on the score and “Insert Column to the right”. Then you can put in a formula to have the computer calculate the percent. Press =. Then click on the cell with the original score. Then type /. Then type the total number of points. The computer will automatically make this a percent. You can see the example below.
Once you do the hard part, you can copy that cell and paste it all the way down the column. Google will automatically change the score to the correct row. In other words the student score in row 2 (cell C2) will not transfer all the way down the row. Google will automatically make the formula match the row number.
There are a lot of other ways to use Google Forms and to adjust the appearance. Look for those in future posts.